Breaking Travel News explores: Saudi Arabia prepares to make a splash at World Travel Market in London
World Travel Market (WTM) returns to London this week and the industry is poised for a spectacular show.
Already one of the largest travel and tourism events anywhere, WTM has signed up more than 14 per cent new exhibitors this year, ranging from household names to specialist firms and niche brands.
The show is expected to have around 4,000 exhibitors walk through the doors of the ExCeL London on November 6th-8th.
New brands debuting this year include Eurostar, London-based live concert ABBA Voyage and Bermuda Tourism Authority.
Other tourism boards making their first appearance at WTM London include Sabah, promoting travel to northern Borneo, in Malaysia and Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan.
Saudi Arabia, the fastest-growing tourism destination in the world is also poised for an electrifying return to WTM London, with over 75 influential Saudi stakeholders participating in the event.
The Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) will lead a delegation comprising of leading industry figures representing destination management organisations, destination management companies, hotels, tour operators, airlines and cruise companies.
Also on hand are Riyadh Air; Almosafer; Tourism Development Fund; Red Sea Global; Diriyah Company; Royal Commission for AlUla and NEOM.
The interactive STA exhibition stand will come alive with the sights and sounds of Saudi featuring traditional Saudi music, coffee, date carts, and a delectable array of Arabian dishes.
Live demonstrations of traditional Saudi crafts, such as basket weaving and creating vibrant flower crowns will add to the immersive experience.
The exhibition stand will also feature: Media Studio, which is a custom-built media studio to capture trade and partner voices on the opportunities working in and with Saudi.
Furthermore, Cutting-Edge Technology, which showcase the latest advancements in tourism technology, illustrating Saudi Arabia’s commitment to innovation and how that can be used to enable the trade in tackling barriers.
It also includes the Nusuk Area, which is a dedicated section to demonstrate the integrated digital platform and tools for trade to support pilgrims, providing an easy-to-use planning gateway to Makkah and Madinah.
The diversity of Saudi will be showcased on the stand with an interactive Saudi map and activities calendar, while the immersive Saudi Expert activation will show trade partners how Saudi can deliver them value, answering all their questions about potential business opportunities in the kingdom, and offering them the opportunity to seamlessly register as trade partners using a QR code.
Throughout the event, the STA delegation will host bilateral meetings and take part in speaking and networking opportunities, with the STA chief executive opening the WTM London main stage before delivering a keynote speech.
There will also be a number of exciting announcements and partnership agreements unveiled at the trade show.
A WTM reception will be hosted by the STA for trade partners will provide a further opportunity to network with leading global travel and tourism organizations.
From his side, Fahd Hamidaddin, chief executive and member of the board at Saudi Tourism Authority, said: “Saudi’s expanded and record-breaking participation this year mirrors our expanded targets and accelerated growth — 150 million visits by 2030.
“I look forward to being in London once again to continue strengthening existing partnerships and cultivating new ones to reach this goal.
“Winter season in Saudi is the most vibrant and happening anywhere in the world.
“In most destinations Winter is one season, in Saudi, it is many seasons across many cities – Riyadh, AlUla, Diriyah, Jeddah and many more — over 11,000 events in the coming months, our busiest ever.
“We believe the best way to share Saudi with the world is by inviting the world to come see it for themselves and there is no better time than now.
“Trade shows are a very close second where we make new connections and agree new business opportunities across the tourism value chain, making it more competitive than ever for our trade partners to introduce visitors to the wonders of Arabia.”
Trade show attendance has been a key part of Saudi’s tourism strategy since it opened its doors to international visitors in 2019.
At WTM trade shows over the past few years, Saudi has secured a record number of deals and agreements with key international trade partners, and demonstrated Saudi’s leadership and commitment towards the future success of the global tourism ecosystem.
Saudi Arabia took the titles of Middle East’s Leading Cultural Destination, Middle East’s Leading Heritage Destination and Middle East’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination at the World Travel Awards earlier this year.
Saudia, the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, will also attend.
The WTM serves as a significant platform for engaging discussions on tourism development and will include the participation of various decision-makers and experts in the travel industry.
Through this event, Saudia will showcase the latest products, services, and initiatives of its new era, aimed at enhancing the guests’ travel experience and aligning its efforts to connect the world to the kingdom, supporting the tourism, finance, business, and Hajj and Umrah sectors.
Saudia has completed preparations for welcoming guests to its interactive stand S4-410, spanning two floors and covering an extensive area of 266 square meters.
Guests will be able to explore Saudia’s new brand and era, which reflects the kingdom’s rich heritage and engages the guests’ five senses through traditional cuisine, soulful music, the distinct aroma of the cabin, and interactive in-flight entertainment.
Furthermore, guests will have the opportunity to experience the airline’s latest aircraft seats for both business and economy classes, renowned for their beautiful design and enhanced travel comfort.
They will also be introduced to the newly branded amenity kits featuring luxurious products in both classes.
Guests will have the chance to closely explore the latest digital services soon to be introduced by Saudia, incorporating artificial intelligence technologies to deliver a comprehensive and distinctive travel experience for its guests.
Ibrahim Koshy, chief executive of Saudia, highlighted the distinctive nature of their participation in the WTM compared to previous editions, as it follows the launch of Saudia’s new brand and era.
“With the presence of industry experts, the goal is to reveal the significant changes planned for Saudia’s products and offerings.
He further emphasized Saudia’s objective of connecting the world to the kingdom in line with Saudi Vision 2030.
He added that this participation will be leveraged to conduct meetings with various experts in diverse fields, laying the groundwork for future agreements that contribute to innovative solutions in the aviation industry.
Visit Saudi Tourism Authority at stands S5-510, S5-200 and S5-500 during World Travel Market 2023 – or find out more here.